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London weather: Snow falls on capital as it braces for an icy weekend

Snow fell on London on Friday as commuters faced a bitterly cold start to the day, with temperatures feeling around -4C.

The first white flakes of the season were seen falling in parts of the capital including West Hampstead, Ealing, Islington, and in the City - as a yellow warning for snow and ice stretched from Scotland to East Anglia.

There were also some very light showers reported in Wandsworth.

London's first sighting of snow was reported at roughly 10am, while further light flurries were seen around midday.

Parts of the UK could see 5cm of snow on Friday with temperatures expected to drop as low as minus 10C in some areas.

Temperatures in London dropped to a low of -3.4C on Thursday night.

Forecasters predicted it would still be around -2C on Friday morning as Londoners headed to work and school, while a freezing cold wind made it feel like -4C up to 9am.

Met Office spokeswoman, Nicola Maxey, told the Standard on Friday: “Last night was a cold night across the country with a widespread frost as temperatures fell well below freezing for most.

"Teddington in Middlesex saw temperatures down to -3.4C, Northolt -2.3C and Kew Gardens -2.2C. The lowest temperature recorded in the UK overnight was -9.4C at Shap in Cumbria."

A yellow weather warning for snow and ice will remain in place on Friday and until 10am on Saturday for the eastern coast of the the UK, stretching from Scotland to East Anglia. Ice warnings remain in place for Northern Ireland and south-west England.

Parts of south London could see "sleet showers” at the weekend, according to BBC Weather, while Accuweather predicts a 31 per cent chance of snow in parts of the capital.

It comes after snow swept across the South West, parts of Yorkshire, the North East and Scotland on Thursday.

More than 30 schools in Cornwall closed for the day or opened late due to hazardous conditions.

In County Durham, police said snowy conditions led to some crashes on the roads.

The UK Health Security Agency has already upgraded a number of alerts from yellow to amber, with the North East, North West and Yorkshire and the Humber are now under the higher alerts.

Yellow cold-health alerts are also in place for the East Midlands and West Midlands. All the warnings last until December 5.

Mayor Sadiq Khan activated emergency cold weather protocols on Wednesday, opening emergency accommodation across the capital, as the temperature was set to plunge to below freezing overnight.

"I’ve activated the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol, opening emergency accommodation across the capital for those sleeping rough," he said. "Charities and local councils will be working around the clock to help them."

Motoring organisation the RAC urged drivers to "ensure they're winter ready as some get their first real taste of snow and ice".

Met Office deputy chief meteorologist David Oliver warned of an uncertain weather period on Thursday and Friday for the southern half of England and Wales.

“The weather models are highlighting several possible solutions from very wet to mainly dry, with a mainly dry picture the most probable outcome at present,” he said.

“However, some models include the prospect of an area of low pressure developing and moving in from the south or south-west.

“If this solution proves to be correct, we could see an area of warmer and moisture-laden air ‘bumping’ into the cold air further north. Along the boundary of the two air masses lies a zone across southern and central Britain where snowfall could develop fairly widely.”

He added: “Snow in any affected area is unlikely to be anything more than transient and short-lived, but it could lead to small totals and some disruption over a few hours before melting.”

The Angel of the North statue in Gateshead covered in snow (PA)
The Angel of the North statue in Gateshead covered in snow (PA)

The icy conditions come as the UK and Ireland get a blast of cold air from northern Scandinavia.

Daytime temperatures are expected to drop to cold, single-digit figures this week.

Night temperatures are expected to stay below freezing for large parts of England and Scotland.

There is more bad news for those missing the summer warmth as frigid temperatures will likely continue into next week.

The Met Office on Wednesday also issued fresh weather warnings for snow and ice for areas including the North East and South West of England.

One yellow warning, covering areas in North East England, East Midlands, the East of England, Yorkshire and Humber and parts of Scotland, will be active from 5pm on Thursday until 11am on Friday.

The forecaster said: “Showers, wintry in places, will continue to affect northern and eastern Scotland and eastern England through Thursday evening and overnight into Friday morning.

“These are likely to fall onto frozen surfaces allowing icy patches to form.

“From approximately the Humber northwards, showers will often fall as snow inland, with up to 2cm possible in places, and perhaps as much as 5cm over high ground. Further south, any snow accumulations are more likely to be restricted to higher ground."

Snow is expected, especially for people in places away from windward coasts, with the Met Office predicting up to three centimetres of snow will fall.

Some roads and rail services are likely to be impacted, with Britons warned to prepare for longer or delayed journey times on roadways, railways, and public transport.

Those unable to stay home as conditions turn icy and slippery are encouraged to plan their journeys using the relevant traffic websites for Scotland, England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

The Met Office said it is too early to predict a white Christmas.

Spokeswoman Nicola Maxey said: "Christmas is still a month away, so it is impossible with this lead time to have any confidence in a detailed forecast."

Ladbrokes' latest betting odds for snow to fall anywhere in the UK on Christmas Day are 1/2, and it says Edinburgh and Newcastle are the "most likely destinations to see snow".